A Magical Place

We stopped to get a scoop of ice cream on Saturday, but we fell head over heels in love with a dog, a shop, and peanut butter pie.

All of the elements in my weekend fun look have been part of my collection for a long while. I rarely shop for anything new, but I hope to inspire you to be more creative with your existing wardrobe by sharing how I wear items repeatedly. Here and here are similar jackets, and a similar tank is here. The jeans are here. A similar bag is here. Similar shoes are here.

This summer, I tried a lovely new pale pink nail color called ‘Baby, Take a Vow’ by OPI here. A pale color suddenly feels more modern than the red color I’ve worn for years.

The Banner Elk Presbyterian Church, by Lees-McRae College, dates its beginning in 1893. The grounds and stained glass windows always give me a sense of awe.

There is a stunning view of Beech Mountain from the church grounds.

After another delightful lunch on the back deck of Bodegas Kitchen & Wine Bar, with Cameron as our waiter, we decided to visit a new spot for dessert.

We have driven past the Linville River Mercantile many times but had never stopped. I’m so glad we finally visited this magical location. We are already planning our next visit very soon. I couldn’t wait to share these pictures with you!

This goofy fluffy ball of love is an Aussiedoodle, a mixed Australian shepherd and poodle dog breed. Within fifteen seconds, I was utterly smitten with this sweet pup!

Mr. Mickey is seated in the garden, enjoying our delightful banana pudding and peanut-butter chocolate pie choices. Flowers, ferns, moss, fruit trees, fall decor, and fountains edged the stone path to the front door.

We were captivated by this delightful garden and shop. The husband and wife team, who have owned and operated this magical place for seventeen years, couldn’t have been more pleasant or friendly. The wife bakes all the desserts! They are the embodiment of sweet southern hospitality.

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  1. You look so great in that denim jacket! Thanks, Susan, for always providing helpful info on how to put myself together with what I have. I truly appreciate it.

  2. How exciting to find such a delightful place! It’s the little unexpected pleasures that can make life and every day a treat. Thanks for sharing what a drive around your area can reveal.
    We don’t have to travel to far away places to enjoy beauty and peaceful scenery.

  3. I’m in love with those green lanterns, what a beautiful fall arrangement they would make and then switch to filling with Christmas ornaments! That would be all the decorations needed. I’m scaling back on Christmas decor also, in addition to clothing.
    I do believe that doggie is smiling at you.

  4. I too chose that same OBI nail color! And I agree the change from the reds is a good one. I think I’ll be staying with these colors. Our older skin on the hands I think look better now with the lighter shades of polish. It is kind of like avoiding wearing black close to the face as we get older — same with the darker nail colors near the skin of our hands?

  5. These are wonderful pictures, Susan! Those garden pictures are so clear.
    That aussiedoodle is precious. It looks like you had a wonderful time!

  6. What is there about the deliciousness of peanut butter pie?! I just pulled my recipe out this afternoon prior to reading your blog title in order to make one for tomorrow, because I couldn’t stop thinking about one . It will be a good Tuesday! Your outing was filled with scenic backdrops and perfect attire for the day. I love your weekend excursion updates from your beautiful part of this country and this is such a glorious time of year!

  7. Susan, What a wonderful post from your outfit, to the beautiful shop and garden to the dog who would capture everyone’s heart. This post is sure to put a smile on everyone’s face! Thank you for sharing.

  8. Hi Susan, What a lovely trip you had. I love places like that. The desserts sound heavenly.
    I have also chosen a soft pink for my nail polish (toes) and I find it refreshing. I like the subtlety of the soft color. I still enjoy a red at times but I’m really on a kick with the soft pale pinks.
    You look lovely as always. Thanks for sharing

  9. Such lovely pictures. Thank you for sharing the view from your part of the world.
    I would like to know why you decided to wear the longer denim jacket instead of a banded one. Is there a fashion reason? Just want to learn from you! ❤️

  10. We are going to be in the Banner Elk area next month and I’ve been taking notes on all the fun places you’ve recommended. At the top of our list is another delicious meal at Artisian, which I know is one of yours and Mr. Mickey’’s favorites. Maybe we’ll see you there! We’re keeping our fingers crossed for fall weather and color.

  11. Outstanding photos! You look prefect as always. Looks like a fun place to visit with so much to see. Honest now, did you just take one bite of that pie?

  12. Honestly Susan I have enjoyed your day trips and travel photos so much! Of course your style tips as well. I would love to visit the places you go. Would you consider making a week’s itinerary of towns, restaurants, shops and outdoor places to visit in your area? I am retiring soon and would love to do a driving tour of places you’ve shared. Just an idea.

    1. Thank you, Carolyn. If you search on TripAdvisor for Blowing Rock, NC, you will see several small towns within a short drive. They all have something charming and different to offer, from natural beauty to great shopping or delicious food. You can see pictures, read reviews, find websites and determine if the venue is right for you. Sometimes we find things by accident, but I usually do my research online before I travel. I always have other options in mind if something turns out not to be my cup of tea.

  13. Thank you so much for sharing your day-trips and travels around the Tri-states area. We are leaving tomorrow for our place on Lake James (NC). Our main purpose is to isolate for a few weeks prior to our son’s wedding (don’t want to take a chance of being exposed prior to that!). But, I’m going to go through your recent posts to find fun day trips we can take without taking any chances of exposure. Maybe a few places to pick up a meal to eat as a picnic! The weather looks wonderful and I’m hoping for a bit of fall color.

  14. Who makes your shoes? I know they’re old but they are sooooo cute! Hoping I can find them online somewhere. Thank you Susan!

  15. I appreciate you sharing your wonderful travel stops. Such a delight seeing your beautiful area of the USA! AussieDoodles are an excellent friendly and smart dog. My husband and I have. 23 month old pup. She is pure joy to us in our senior years, and helps keep us active.
    Enjoy a wonderful week, and keep sharing your excellent tips and trips!

  16. What a magical place to visit! That is MY kind of shop! Your desserts sounded wonderful as well! And I, too, love the looks of that sweet dog!! You can tell by his face that he’s sweet! Thanks for sharing your weekend!

  17. You’re so lucky to have Mr. Mickey! My husband would have stepped on the gas when he saw this wonderful shop! Your “neck of the woods” is such a beautiful place; I wish I could visit some day. Peanut butter pie AND vanilla pudding—to die for!!

  18. ohh boy! Did you read the reviews for the jacket you linked at Chico’s? But there are similar at that site if you look for enlongated denim jackets.

  19. How delightful! I will have to check this out next time I’m in the area. By the way, did you purchase any decorative accents while you were there? I would’ve been so tempted. Thanks for sharing your weekend adventures.

  20. My oh my, this blog was a feast for the eyes! I’m very familiar with that shop in Linville and have always found it charming, too. I always worry it won’t survive the winter, when tourism is down, and I’m always delighted to see it is reopen each spring.

    Ooh, baby, I love that nail polish! I’ve been looking for a perfect pink to take me away from my neutral beige nail polish.

    And now I’m going to have to look for an Aussiedoodle! We have an Australian cattle dog now, and I think he could use a brother or sister. He’s adorable!

    Thank you for this absolutely delightful tour today!

  21. What a wonderful adventure! The church is magnificent, The desserts look yummy and the shop is adorable….lots of temptations!! I LOVE the dog. My grand dog is an Aussie Doodle and is the love of my life. They are such a affectionate, people loving breed. I visit him nearly every day. He has become my therapy dog when I’m having a bad day.

  22. Being an Australian I googled Australian Shepherd dog as I had never heard of them. Thought someone was fooling you! But found they are an American dog bred originally in California. Always learn something from your posts!

  23. Hi Susan, I used to take these day trips as you do but my partner now is not inclined to do so. We live in Florida so maybe with a little more of a “fall” weather he would be more inclined. But what I really wanted to say is that I enjoy your blog so much because even if I am not there physically you take me with you in your trips. Thank you Susan, so much!

  24. I love seeing pictures of your area. It looks very much like fall which arrives tomorrow. Your outfit is perfect!
    Thank you, Susan.


  25. Just beautiful! So green. I live in Southern California with the drought we have things are brown lol I’m originally from Europe and it reminds me of little towns and shops. I so love your blog and read it anytime you post. Thank you Susan !

  26. Susan,
    Thank you for the stunning post on Beech Mountain. You are the most exquisite part of that visit. Thank you for making my day. Have a great day.

  27. I really enjoy reading your emails. I am from Elizabethton and familiar with the beautiful places you visit. Your advice on style and makeup is well received. Please keep up the good work. Are you on Facebook?

  28. Thank you for all the pictures Susan. That store would take hours to look thru! I’m almost ready to eat breakfast but now I want some pie. It’s turning cooler here and now I’m ready for pumpkin decorations.

    Have a happy fall season.
    Patty V

  29. Susan the places you take us to are absolutely beautiful! As a Canadian your photos and information are probably the closest I will get to visiting the southern US. Love also looking at what you wore and the lovely delicious meals! Thank you !

  30. Good morning Susan,
    The pictures you shared are wonderful. Autumn is here according to my calendar, we are still above 100
    degrees. I still dressed the table and great room for Autumn.
    Love the fur baby, can see why you became infatuated. I love animals too, and have had them all of my life.
    After Romeo and Juliet (Birman-cats) passed to heaven we said, “no more”, it’s just way too painful when
    they leave you. Romeo was 19 years young when he passed, he was “pure joy.”
    Sending you smiles and a UP day,

  31. Thanks again for all the lovely pictures sharing your adventures. I really enjoy visiting shops like the above. My daughter and I have Victorian Tea and then shop at these places.

    You inspire me and I have learned so much from you Susan. I share your ways with my daughters and girlfriends.

    Enjoy your week and weekend.

    Pat Perkins

  32. Thank you for sharing this delightful place. This type of business is so fun to explore. I feel I’ve entered into the fall season!

  33. Wow! That country mercantile was a wonderful find! I personally loved the teacups and teapots on the mantel shelf. What a lovely place to mill around and have delicious pie. Although I grew up in the South, I’ve never had peanut butter pie. I’ll have to try it sometime!

  34. Dear Susanne, The pictures are wonderful. 12-15 Celsius. What do you recommend for such weather?Best Regards: Éva

  35. This is one of my favorite posts! How I wish I still lived on the east coast to be able to take in the many wonderful and picturesque places that you’ve visited, especially this absolutely charming and quaint looking shop. You look amazing, and I love seeing how your fashion style has evolved over the years but remains sophisticated and modern, including the beautiful pink nail polish.

  36. What beautiful pictures in this post! That store would be right up my alley! Wish I lived closer.
    Love how your are so at ease with your clothes and keep reiterating how easy it is for you to put together outfits.
    I’m learning! Right now, I’m working on your suggestions for “unmentionables.”
    Love your blog and your tips! Thanks Susan.

  37. Love your style and choices of places to enjoy. The shops and the natural settings are beautiful and a perfect way to spend a day or even a few hours. I wouldn’t want to leave until I looked at everything especially the gift shop and that old church. And eat pie!
    I can see the “magic” your pictures describe. Beautiful.
    Thanks for sharing.

  38. Thanks for sharing this charming garden and shop. It looks like a place I could easily get lost in. Can’t say I blame you for falling in love with the darling pup. People, places, and pooches like this just take a day from ordinary to extraordinary.

    1. Wear something that makes you feel your most confident and pretty. Your shoes need to be block or wedge heels so that they don’t sink into the soil. Good colors to consider are navy or plum.

  39. Hi Susan, Thank you for your enjoyable diaries they are a delight to receive and allow me an insight into life in America away from the news headlines. The little dog you fell in love within this post would be a cross with what we call a Blue Heeler. This much loved cattle dog has a great heart and is loyal and strong. A prized breed in country Australia. This little one will no doubt display all of that character mixed with a great deal of mischief, it seems. The telltale sign is the colouring ranging through all the greys to “blue” and black.
    With every good wish. Thellie Ferris, Bootawa, New South Wales, Australia.

  40. What an enjoyable day trip! Thank you for including the lovely pictures of this grand church! I love old churches (stone or heavy brick masonry especially) and the beautiful stained glass windows. Even though I attend a non-denominational little county church that is 148 years old, it has a bell tower ( and the bell gets rung at start of service). It saddens me that many modern churches today don’t even have crosses. The view is spectacular and what a fun little shop to browse and enjoy such a yummy dessert. The pup has a precious smile and was happy to pose for you! Your outfit is perfect and you look great! I enjoy all your posts Susan, thank you for all your efforts. I’m learning lots from you, even stretching myself by wearing a pretty fall scarf today and was pleased with the outcome. Thank you!

  41. I just found this blog and thoroughly enjoy it. You dress in a style I can relate to. I’ve tried a few different “looks” and end up giving them away. I’m definitely a tailored, layered type of woman. Thanks for the links to highlighted items. And BTW, I’ve had an Aussiedoodle for 11 years now. Molly is the best dog ever!!

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I share tips and inspiration for using what you already have in contemporary ways. Defining words include effortless, classic, refined, discreet, and elegant. My style is chic, minimal, and timeless with a bit of edge.